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Magnesium and experimental vasospasm

R. Loch Macdonald, Daniel J. Curry, Yasuo Aihara, Zhen-Du Zhang, Babak S. Jahromi, and Reza Yassari

Object. Interest has developed in the use of magnesium (Mg++) as a neuroprotectant and antivasospastic agent. Magnesium may increase cerebral blood flow (CBF) and reduce the contraction of cerebral arteries caused by various stimuli. In this study the authors tested the hypothesis that a continuous intravenous infusion of Mg++ reduces cerebral vasospasm after experimental subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).

Methods. A dose-finding study was conducted in five monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) to determine what doses of intravenous MgSO4 elevate the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) concentrations of Mg++ to vasoactive levels and to determine what effects these doses have on the diameters of cerebral arteries, as shown angiographically. After a standard dose of MgSO4 had been selected it was then administered in a randomized, controlled, blinded study to 10 monkeys (five animals/group) with SAH, beginning on Day 0 and continuing for 7 days, at which time angiography was repeated. A 0.086-g/kg bolus of MgSO4 followed by an infusion of 0.028 g/kg/day MgSO4 significantly elevated serum and CSF levels of Mg++ (five monkeys). Magnesium sulfate significantly elevated the serum level of total Mg++ from a control value of 0.83 ± 0.04 mmol/L to 2.42 ± 1.01 mmol/L on Day 7 and raised the CSF level from 1.3 ± 0.04 mmol/L to 1.76 ± 0.14 mmol/L. There was no angiographic evidence of any effect of MgSO4 on normal cerebral arteries. After SAH, the vasospasm in the middle cerebral artery was not significantly reduced (46 ± 8% in the MgSO4-treated group compared with 35 ± 6% in the placebo [vehicle]-treated group, p > 0.05, unpaired t-test).

Conclusions. Magnesium sulfate did not significantly reduce cerebral vasospasm after SAH in the doses tested. An investigation of SAH is warranted mainly to test whether a benefit can be achieved by neuroprotection or by augmentation of CBF by dilation of small vessels and/or collateral pathways.

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Optimizing the residency application process: insights from neurological surgery during the pandemic virtual application cycle

Robert Romano, Debraj Mukherjee, L. Madison Michael II, Judy Huang, M. Harrison Snyder, Vamsi P. Reddy, Katherine Guzman, Pamela Lane, Jeremiah N. Johnson, Nathan R. Selden, Stacey Q. Wolfe, and on behalf of the Society of Neurological Surgeons

OBJECTIVE

In this article, the authors describe the impact of the COVID-19 virtual match cycle and discuss approaches to optimize future cycles through applicant and neurosurgical education leadership insights.

METHODS

Anonymous surveys of neurosurgery program leaders (program directors and program chairs), program administrators (PAs), and 2020–2021 neurosurgery residency match applicants were distributed by the SNS, in conjunction with the Association of Resident Administrators in Neurological Surgery and AANS Young Neurosurgeons Committee.

RESULTS

Responses were received from 77 (67.0%) of 115 PAs, 119 (51.7%) of 230 program leaders, and 124 (44.3%) of 280 applicants representing geographically diverse regions. During the virtual application cycle relative to the previous year, programs received more Electronic Residency Application Service applications (mean 314.8 vs 285.3, p < 0.0001) and conducted more applicant interviews (mean 45.2 vs 39.9, p = 0.0003). More than 50% of applicants applied to > 80 programs; 60.3% received ≤ 20 interview invitations, and 9% received > 40 invitations. Overall, 65% of applicants completed ≤ 20 interviews, whereas 34.7% completed > 20 interviews. Program leaders described one 4-week home subinternship (93.3%) and two 4-week external subinternships (68.9%) as optimal neurosurgical exposure; 62.8% of program leaders found the standardized letter of recommendation template to be somewhat (47.5%) or significantly (15.3%) helpful. Applicants, PAs, and program leaders all strongly preferred a hybrid model of in-person and virtual interview options for future application cycles over all in-person or all virtual options. Ninety-three percent of applicants reported matching within their top 10–ranked programs, and 52.9% of programs matched residents within the same decile ranking as in previous years.

CONCLUSIONS

Optimizing a national strategy for the neurosurgery application process that prioritizes equity and reduces costs, while ensuring adequate exposure for applicants to gain educational opportunities and evaluate programs, is critical to maintain a successful training system.